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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Total revamp needed to secure the future of Aussie tourism post #Covid19

Professor Marianna Sigala, lobbying for a more
ethical and sustainable tourism industry
A complete reset of Australia’s tourism industry is necessary to ensure its future success, according to global tourism expert, Professor Marianna Sigala at the University of South Australia.

As debates continue about how and when to open Australia’s state and territory borders, Prof Sigala says we must consider what we want Australia’s future tourism industry to look like, with a clear lens on sustainability and well-being.

“There’s no doubt Australia’s tourism sector is suffering – we started the year in recovery following the devastating bushfires and then, before operators were even back on their feet, we were hit with the Covid-19 pandemic, and everything rapidly shut down,” Prof Sigala says.

“Everyone is keen to re-active our tourism industry, but we must not default to ‘business as usual’. A new restart rather than a recovery to the old normal is more reasonable.

“COVID-19 has led to profound changes on tourists’ behaviour and expectations as well as on industry operations which are predicted to have long-lasting impacts. We need to take advantage of the slow-down to reflect, rethink and plan for improved practices and behaviours.

“This includes revisiting how tourism activities impact communities; respecting nature and surrounds to ensure we’re enhancing and giving back to the areas and assets that draw tourists; and we need to do that with a mindset that shows we are ready for a successful and sustainable future.

“A tourism resetting plan that encompasses responsible tourism, seasonality and climate change, and importantly, practices that benefit all stakeholder – operators, visitors and communities – and their tangible and intangible cultural assets, could position Australia as a world exemplar in re-imagining and leading new tourism management in the post COVID era.”

Environmentally, the pandemic has had a positive impact. In India, Covid-19 has closed factories, to clear once-polluted skies; the Himalayan mountain range is now visible from some cities for the first time in years. In Venice, as canal traffic has come to a standstill, once-murky waters are also clear.

Tourists climb Ayers Rock in the mid-70s (Roderick Eime)

Closer to home, Australia had been making positive steps, even before the onset of Covid-19. In October last year, the iconic Uluru was permanently closed to climbers as a mark of respect to the traditional owners of the land.

Yet with recent calls from Northern Territory business groups to reopen the climb for the sake of tourism, Prof Sigala says we still have a lot to learn.

“While isolation has enabled physical environments a chance to recover from the lack of mass tourism, we must find a balance between caring for tourism assets – and the communities in which they reside –valorising them for supporting tourism activities within and around these locations,” Prof Sigala says.

“When we commoditise and commercialise a cultural asset, we risk transforming it into an attraction driven by visitation defined by economic growth.

“The trade-off between economic and other values is our current mindset, and this needs to shift.”

The World Tourism Organization estimates that international tourist arrivals could drop to 78 per cent, which translates to a drop of up to 1.1 billion international arrivals and a loss of US$ 1.2 trillion (nearly A$1.9 trillion) in export revenues from tourism, representing the largest decline in the history of the industry.

Under these dire conditions, survival of the industry must still include sustainability planning and development.

“Sustainability management should not be viewed as an expense to be managed, but as an investment for the future,” Prof Sigala says.

“Australia must continue to implement activities to keep customers, tourism staff and businesses engaged and ready for when travel restrictions lift.

“We need to communicate to the wider and international community that we are not in hibernation, but rather we are upgrading, innovating and introducing sustainable changes in our tourism offerings and operations that enhance the well-being of tourists and our communities.

“When tourists come back, we should be welcoming them to a better, more ethical and more sustainable tourism industry.”

ATIC: Supporting a safe return to enjoying local tourism experiences #Covid19


The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) has launched its latest program of practical support for small and medium size tourism enterprises in the safe delivery of great experiences to the returning visitor.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
COVID Clean Practising Business is a complimentary online program that assists tourism businesses to develop plans and procedures to create and maintain a COVID safe workplace and operations. It follows ATIC’s recent unveiling of a COVID Tourism Recovery Plan module.

The free program represents a core component of the long-standing Quality Tourism Framework (QTF). The new COVID Clean Practicing Business program also becomes a fresh offering to the already thousands of accredited star-rated and award-winning tourism businesses across Australia within the QTF.

Using Workplace Health & Safety standards and reflecting individual State or Territory requirements, the COVID Clean Practicing Business program develops customised cleaning checklists that are specifically tailored for tourism businesses.

The program also supports the development of safe work practices such as social distancing, staff training and customer guidance and the creation of a COVID-19 risk register. Once in place, these systems support individual tourism business efforts to minimise community spread of COVID-19 and to provide peace of mind to customers, guests and employees.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said tourism businesses that have successfully completed the new program will be able to provide an assurance to visitors and guests that additional hygiene steps and sound safe work practices are in place by displaying the COVID Clean Practising Business mark on-premises and on line.

“Our industry has faced unimaginable challenges this year and we want to make every effort to support their recovery. The COVID Clean Practising Business program will assist small and medium tourism enterprises, the backbone of our industry, to take practical, but necessary steps to provide a safe and secure place of business as well as give their prospective customers renewed confidence to book,” Mr Westaway said.

“We believe it’s also the responsibility of industry to be proactive and constructive in developing these types of sound guidelines and practices which we hope lead to greater confidence of State and Territory Governments and health authorities to ease remaining restrictions around their response to coronavirus in a faster and more efficient way.

“With progress in the easing of restrictions now underway we are naturally excited for our industry becoming open again for business. But we also recognise the important role tourism enterprises must play to maintain a COVID safe community.

“This program assists tourism businesses in these efforts in an easily digestible format, whilst encouraging tourism activity within a COVID-19 safe environment.”

Businesses can contact their respective State/territory tourism representative body (Tourism Industry Councils) administering the Quality Tourism Framework.

Visit qualitytourismaustralia.com for more information.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Qatar Airways resumes Brisbane service with A350-1000 debut

Qatar Airways A350-1000 (Source: Australian Aviation)

Qatar Airways is the global launch customer for the A350-1000, the world’s most advanced passenger aircraft

Qatar Airways’ has officially resumed its Brisbane operations with the first flight of the new service landing at Brisbane International Airport last night. The Airbus A350-1000 left Hamad International Airport, which was voted Third Best Airport in the World at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2020, landing in Brisbane at 8:45pm local time.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Surge in road trips is all in the data says CamperMate



Australia’s number one road travel experience app says a strong rise in road travel awaits

The CamperMate app, Australia’s number one road travel experience app, with almost 2 million users, is demonstrating how a strong and immediate take-up in future travel for day trips and anticipated future overnight stays is set to occur as we safely navigate out from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is well proven Australians love to travel and holiday – even for a day trip or short break. And the forced shutdown of domestic and international travel, the right thing to do to support the public health response to coronavirus, has made us more cautious and community minded during this time.

Respected and senior tourism leader, CamperMate CEO Nick Baker, said the rapidly developing green shoots now occurring with the CamperMate road travel experience app, closely correlate with predicted pent up demand for get-on-the-road and travel activity across our country and which is predicted in the weeks ahead.

Mr Baker said CamperMate’s surge in users over the month of May, a compound growth of at least 140 per cent each week, is exciting news and a real-life indicator for more positive times ahead for our beleaguered tourism businesses, regional centres and our great cities which are desperately ready to welcome people back.

“Last week our CamperMate App was downloaded by 5000 new users! This is a fraction of what we usually see when tourism is fully firing. But the current triple digit growth rate in users of the App is very clear to us and demonstrates there are genuine green shoots in the road back for tourism,” Mr Baker said.

“Our rapidly increasing numbers of users of the CamperMate app highlights that many people are planning to embrace road trips ahead of the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend and into the winter break for schools.

“This is an exciting prospect for our regional visitor hot spots, now further encouraged by the latest State Government announcements such as in NSW and South Australia, to encourage people to get back out there!”

==

The former senior executive of Tourism Australia and Voyages and CEO of Red Balloon said CamperMate’s App performance numbers paint a realistic picture of how and when people will embrace the chance to travel again.

He said in the few short weeks during February - between when the horrendous bushfires came under control and the onset of COVID-19 - CamperMate’s strong data insights showed many Australians were quickly driving back into and through our regions. They also over-prolonged their stay in many places against trend – a sign we anticipate could be repeated based on the anticipated pent up demand for local travel in a COVID Safe economy.

“At CamperMate we predict this will again become the case as authorities make clear further easings of restrictions and encouragement of initially local and intrastate travel,” Mr Baker said.

Mr Baker said since CamperMate’s inception it has been a strong supporter and partner of industry with its strong data insights well reflecting road trip travel activity and destination performance. It has become an information tool feeding into government and industry planning on both sides of the Tasman. This includes monitoring tourist and visitor volumes and strategically assessing activity within road and park networks.

“CamperMate possesses an innovative new in-trip booking platform for thousands of accommodation and experience options, including offers in caravan and recreational parks, as well as providing real-time updates on any travel warnings or closed areas in-journey. CamperMate helps makes a good trip great,” Mr Baker said.

“CamperMate’s value to users is also pulling live data from service providers so travellers have truly localised updates on the latest offers, accessibility, weather and travel conditions before making a pre or in-trip booking.

“Increasingly this is the way many people are now travelling by making decisions in trip! CamperMate’s evolving features now make it even more appealing and practical to the emergent Australian domestic traveller.”

The CamperMate app is available to download free on IOS and Android devices and is supported by leaders in the Australian and New Zealand caravan and RV industry including Jayco and Discovery Parks Australia.

Website: www.campermate.com.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CamperMate
Instagram: @CamperMate


Traveloscopy | 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

200 Baby Turtles Born at Banyan Tree Samui



Thai resort nurses green turtles to life

The birth of some 200 green turtles has brought a moment of joy to the staff at one of Thailand’s top hotels.

Between April 4 and 24, three nests hatched on the secluded beach at Banyan Tree Samui resort, and a total of 200 baby turtles emerged under the watchful gaze of the hotel’s resident marine biologist, Thepsuda Loyjiw.

Banyan Tree Samui's CSR team had erected a fence
around the turtle nests to protect the eggs from predators.
Since a giant mother turtle laid the eggs in late February and early March, they’ve matured in the protective custody of Loyjiw’s team and the local Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.

“It was heartwarming to watch the baby turtles being born, and then scurrying to the sea,” said Loyjiw. “Ever since the mother turtle laid her eggs on our beach, we have been protecting them from predators such as birds and monitor lizards, and gauging the temperature of the eggs to make sure the hatchlings would be given every chance of survival.”

It appears that this mother turtle was in luck, because not only does Banyan Tree Samui employ a sustainability team headed by a marine biologist, but the 5-star hotel was singled out last year by global watchdog EarthCheck as meeting the highest standards for environmentalism in the country.

Banyan Tree Samui is located at the southeastern tip of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. The resort’s beach is sheltered in a cove, flanked by coral reefs, and isolated from the busy public beaches of Chaweng and Lamai.

When fully grown, green sea turtles generally weigh between 110 and 180 kg and measure about one meter in length. It is rare in Thailand for a giant green turtle (Chelonia mydas) to lay eggs so close to a tourist area; most seek out deserted bays in the Andaman Sea to make nests. However, since the onset of Covid-19, hotels on Koh Samui have been ordered to close, bringing the popular tropical island to a standstill.

Several recent news reports have noted that marine life and wildlife have regenerated on many of Thailand’s most popular tourist destinations since the coronavirus crisis began. Nests of rare leatherback turtles have been discovered on Phuket, and an increasing number of dugongs has been spotted close to Thai shores.



Friday, May 15, 2020

ATIC: Live from AUS – Let’s bring Australian tourism a-live

Executive Director of ATIC, Simon Westaway
The Australian Tourism Industry Council and its thousands of tourism SME member businesses, including many regional-based firms are strongly behind the success of Tourism Australia’s innovative ‘Live from AUS’ domestic campaign.

The mainstream media, as well as digital and online execution, launches this evening through broadcast media and then through TA’s highly popular Facebook page and YouTube channels.

Executive Director of ATIC, Simon Westaway said:

“Enthusiastically we wish Tourism Australia well with this bold and innovative campaign approach. Importantly we observe it includes a focus on how Australia’s tourism SME’s from all corners of the country deliver their compelling offering and how it can and will strongly appeal to local audiences to hit the road and holiday here this year.

“Domestic tourism is the well-known backbone of our sector. Pre the COVID-19 pandemic Australians were spending $100 billion annually inside our domestic visitor economy, which like our international visitor and spending numbers, were running at record levels.

“Close to three-quarters of our industry is a domestic play and that clearly will not change for the years ahead.

“Acknowledging the significant hurdles that our industry has faced with a stratospheric drop in demand the face of recovery will not be easy. This week’s official massive lift in unemployment and underemployment levels and rising household debt and cashflow stress highlight this.

“But it is the right thing for our acclaimed national tourism agency to keep the inspiration of a domestic holiday, a regional and rural journey or short trip top of mind and that time is now.

“Innovative campaigns like this are a further proof point that there is a genuine, longer-term role for Tourism Australia to play in Australia’s domestic tourism sector. Our position on this has never wavered.

“We wish the campaign well and look forward to hearing of the strong outcomes and insights gained and hopefully lots of future trips being considered or booked!”

Further Details: Simon Westaway Executive Director, ATIC M: 0401 994 627 swestaway@qualitytourismaustralia.com www.qualitytourismaustralia.com

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Update from Tourism Western Australia


Happy Friday!
Brodie Carr, MD,
Tourism Western Australia

It was encouraging to see the Prime Minister’s announcement this morning following the National Cabinet about guidelines around a three-step approach to easing coronavirus restrictions, with each State and Territory to determine how this will be applied.

On Sunday, the Premier will announce the next phase for WA and the roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions.

Thanks for taking the time to join me last week for our online industry update on Tourism WA’s big-picture marketing strategy going forward.

As I mentioned in the presentation, we will remain active on our social channels throughout each stage of our COVID-19 recovery including a new holding social campaign.

We have deliberately waited until after the Prime Minister’s announcement today to launch the “Adventure Awaits” campaign so it is as current as possible.  We are planning more content following the Premier’s announcement on Sunday. This has placed even more importance on the need for tourism businesses to ready themselves for travellers.

The campaign will encourage people to keep our State front of mind as a must-visit holiday destination and will run until intrastate regional restrictions are lifted and the time is right to travel again. We’re currently developing a toolkit for tourism operators to have the opportunity to be featured as part of this campaign. More information will be available in the next edition of Talking Tourism on May 14.

This campaign will be able to pivot when intrastate borders open and I look forward to sharing more information with you soon about what this will look like and the next steps.

We are also showcasing some of the best WA holiday experiences on our new Virtual Hub, which brings together immersive content from tourism operators around the State.

I’d encourage you all to get involved if you can - find out more about how you can get involved here.

Hope you have a great weekend,


Brodie Carr
Managing Director



Sunday, May 3, 2020

Cruising Again in 2020: Australia and NZ to kick off return to cruising


Why it will start in Australia and New Zealand first.

AUSTRALASIA WILL LEAD THE WAY IN RETURN TO OPERATIONS FOR THE CRUISE INDUSTRY

by Richard Davey

In recent years, a high proportion of the cruise industry has been headquartered in Miami and surrounding areas. The home ports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale are the largest hubs on a year-round basis. For over 30 years, when the latest and largest additions to the fleets have been launched and Christened, it has normally been there that they have sailed. The rest of the world had to wait, almost every time. This pattern was in the process of being repeated yet again by new market entrant Virgin Voyages. Their newbuild Scarlet Lady was about to commence her Miami-based operations when the shutdown was enforced.

Amidst the new challenges posed by the pandemic of 2020, much of the industry’s focus again seems introspective and appears to follow The White House in being somewhat optimistic in its assessment of the pandemic’s ongoing effect on the population of the United States. The already established pattern is that the United States CDC announces a “no sail” order, nominating a date before which North American cruise operations should not resume unless the situation somehow improves sooner than expected. This is followed by announcements from several cruise lines saying that they are planning to resume operations at an earlier date. This is plainly unrealistic given when current statistics and when it is remembered that the cruise lines are normally compliant with CDC orders and that the need for such compliance will be greater than ever moving forward.

The Northern Summer is the event around which much the cruise industry revolves. The marquee destinations of Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe. The massive source markets of North America, UK and Germany embark on their holidays and some of the world’s greatest travel experiences are enjoyed by millions. It would seem difficult for even the most optimistic of souls to take a look at the stranglehold that Coronavirus currently has over these populations and not conclude that the Summer of 2020 is going to have to be written off by the cruise industry and that they should refocus on responding to the green traffic lights as they appear, rather than trying to run the red lights.

In Australia, New Zealand and many neighbouring island nations, the lights are flashing amber and about to turn green. The target is not containment of this virus, but outright elimination. We are already 85% of the way towards achieving that goal. We are not exposed to land borders and have very close cooperation between our governments. There is much talk of opening our borders to one another whilst keeping them closed to those outside the zone or “bubble”. This lifting of restrictions will open up both commerce and leisure in our region. If the cruise industry can meet the challenge of focusing on the potential of this region and restoring the confidence of consumers and governments then this region shall be the venue for the return of cruising, and July should be the realistic target date.

Aside from the prospect of a healthy population, there are other reasons why this region is suitable for a restart at this time.

Australia and New Zealand are proven as a source market. Traditionally, the local market has always supported year-round cruising. For decades, cruises have departed Sydney during our winter months, setting sail for the tropical regions to the North. The islands of Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji as well as the coast of Queensland. With growth, the ports of Auckland, Brisbane and Fremantle have also supported year-round cruises and in recent years, boutique and luxury cruises have also operated to Papua New Guinea and Australia’s Kimberley region. World and Grand cruises, designed for Australians and New Zealanders to enjoy a no-fly getaway from our winter have also been undertaken, first by P&O and in recent years by Princess Cruises. All this is proven by its success. The question in 2020 is, how many Aussies and Kiwis who might otherwise have been cruising in Alaska, Asia, New England, or Europe, or the hundreds of thousands more who would have been enjoying land-based holidays – but have been forced to stay at home instead – how many of them will respond to the chance of a late-winter or spring getaway within our region?

The ships are already nearby, and so are their crew.

Despite the eviction by press conference of the cruise industry by the governments of Australia and New Zealand with calls to return to their ports of registry, many of the ships that serve the Australasian market have retreated no further than South-East Asia. This has provided the opportunities for the repatriation of crew, as well as the dry-docking and lay-up of ships there. The fleet of ships currently in Asia not only includes ships that serve the Australasian market year-round and for long seasonal positionings, but also a few other that would be welcome additions should their owners decide to join in for a safe resumption of cruising in this region.

Where, when and who?



P&O Pacific Aria Auckland 4th July

There may not be any Americans on board to celebrate their national day, but the suspension of cruise operations in NZ will just have been lifted, so that’s reason enough for celebration.

Sapphire Princess 7th July Sydney to Fremantle – with Winter sure to be biting Sydneysiders by this day, if the Inside cabins get ditched, the buffet is banned and the aircon is shipshape, it will be time for Sapphire to shine.

The Kimberley

With a virus-free Australia ready to travel but with the Northern Hemisphere off the menu, this can be the year to tick this destination off aboard one of the small ships that get up close in this pearl of a destination. It has never been an inexpensive holiday, but neither has a trip to Europe at the pointy end of the aircraft.

Queen Elizabeth was already backing up for her longest Australian season ever, but with her Alaska 2020 season already cancelled, and Asia surely in doubt, she will be ready to go when we are and is currently anchored near Manila.

Silver Muse already due here late this year, an early arrival could be on the cards if her other itineraries are in doubt. This could also be the case for Windstar Cruises’ Star Breeze

© Richard Davey 2020

Richard Davey
Richard Davey is a 30-year veteran of the travel industry with an unusual insight into the cruise industry. He has serviced Sydney's elite with travel advice through his agency, Ambassador Travel, for almost 20 years.

Having represented several ship owners including ResidenSea's The World, Richard is regarded as one of Australia’s leading authorities in the cruise industry and is frequently heard on the top rating Radio 2GB Sydney, 2CC Canberra and 4BC Brisbane.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tourism Australia’s strategy ‘overhaul’ to reboot domestic tourism is endorsed


The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) strongly endorses the flagged strategy shift by Tourism Australia towards future promotion of domestic travel destinations to local audiences due to the diabolical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATIC Executive Director, Simon Westaway
Responding to commentary in today’s Australian newspaper that our global-leading national tourism agency will ‘overhaul its current strategy’ directly towards encouraging Australians to travel to and through their country; ATIC Executive Director, Simon Westaway, stated this was a major development for industry and would hopefully prove a catalyst to help enable anticipated recovery of the visitor economy in time.

Mr Westaway said ATIC’s consistent policy position that Tourism Australia both regain and continue to retain and play a renewed role in domestic tourism marketing, as well as partnership and supply side engagement with industry, is now excitingly on the horizon.

Domestic and intrastate tourism continues to deliver around 70% of Australia’s approaching $150 billion tourism and visitor economy and remains firmly the backbone of the economic sector.

He said with dedicated funds and driving important coordinated approaches such as regional visitor dispersal initiatives, the national oversight and targeted activity that Tourism Australia can bring is timely given no part of our industry has been spared from the major impact of coronavirus.                                                                                 
“Australian tourism, one of the true pillars of our economy, has been flattened by impact after impact since the beginning of 2020. The reality is COVID-19 has struck our industry hard and perhaps like no other,” Mr Westaway said.

“We know sadly for many tourism enterprises and tens of thousands of those once employed across the sector that there may be no tomorrow when we look towards any future removal of state and territory border restrictions and less onerous social distancing to get things moving again.

“The position to be taken by Tourism Australia is not just the right thing to do, but it will also be symbolically important. We firmly believe such a decision can reignite the spark of many in our great industry to start future rebuilding our Australia’s visitor economy from within.”

Mr Westaway said Tourism Australia’s strategy and operations had achieved success by previously accommodating both international marketing, trade and B2B engagement with global reach alongside a strategic role involving direct investment and coordination of targeted domestic tourism marketing and industry partnerships activity.

“The massive blow the sudden loss of the rising international tourism market to Australia has had on so many tourism businesses across our cities and region, particular many SMEs who attract overseas tourist visitors, isn’t immediately replaceable. But with international borders to remain firmly shut for the foreseeable future this approach has to be undertaken to help assist an industry reboot,” Mr Westaway said.



Thursday, April 23, 2020

Intrepid Group to suspend most operations until September


Intrepid Group has today confirmed that it will suspend all tours globally until 30 September 2020. This, however, excludes polar voyages and some trips within Australia.
The decision follows Intrepid’s announcement last month to suspend global operations until 31 May. 

Customers booked to travel on an Intrepid Travel or Peregrine Adventures tour during this time will receive a credit valued at 110 per cent of all monies paid to use towards an alternative tour with a departure date before 30 September 2022.

Intrepid Group CEO James Thornton
"an extraordinary situation"
CEO James Thornton says that the decision to extend the suspension of Intrepid Group’s trips is due to the ongoing global impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), and the likelihood that international borders will remain closed for an extended period of time. 

“This is an extraordinary situation for the whole travel industry. As a responsible travel company, we’re doing our best to look after all the people that depend on our business,” says Thornton.

“We look forward to resuming trips when we can once again operate trips that benefit both our travellers and the people they visit along the way.”

For more information and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 or www.peregrineadventures.com/en-au/covid19


Monday, April 20, 2020

ATEC ‘Road to Recovery’ tutorial series


ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley
More than 1200 people have registered to be part of ATEC’s free online weekly tutorial series, Road to Recovery.

The tutorials, part of ATEC’s ‘Build Back Better’ strategy, offer a 12-week program of valuable, learning opportunities designed to give individuals and businesses tools to be stronger than ever once the industry gets back on track.

“ATEC is rolling out the ‘Road to Recovery’ tourism tutorial series as a way of supporting our industry members and helping them use this time to work on their business,” ATEC Managing Director Peter Shelley said.

“This is undoubtedly an unprecedented challenge for our industry and many people have lost their jobs or their entire business, but the tourism industry is full of passionate and committed people who will be there at the other end of this pandemic, looking to re-engage and find new opportunities.

“We are offering our Road to Recovery tutorials free to the tourism industry in order to help individuals use this time as an investment in their future, learning and building on their strengths and finding new paths.

Over the past month, ATEC has successfully delivered industry webinars to an audience of 3000 plus registrants through its Build Back Better Leadership Webinars where members gain insights from panellists discussing a range of industry-relevant topics and challenges.

The Road to Recovery Tutorials are just 45 mins and are hosted every Thursday at 2pm (AEST).

Upcoming Tutorials:

Week 1: Resilience- self-care, team care and how to work from home healthily 
Week 2: Build your Road to Recovery checklist 
Week 3: The virtual world - There's never been a better time
Week 4: How to adapt and innovate in this new world
Week 5: Leading remote & virtual teams
Week 6: Facebook, Instagram and Linked-In stay connected and grow your customer base.

For a full program and to register click here.  https://www.atec.net.au/build-back-better/road-to-recovery-series/

More: Tourism Drives Growth

The Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) is the peak industry body representing Australia’s $45 billion tourism export sector. As an organisation, our views are informed by the broadest cross-section of the Australian tourism industry. ATEC represents more than 1000 members across Australia including large national and multinational companies as well as small- and medium-sized enterprises, many of whom are based in regional and remote parts of Australia.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

It's Official: IPW 2020 Cancelled



Dear IPW Delegate:

We have an important announcement to share regarding IPW. Following a thorough decision-making process whereby we explored every viable option to proceed this year, IPW 2020 is cancelled.

We are saddened that circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic including global travel restrictions, flight reductions, mandated social distancing and stay-at-home orders both in the U.S. and abroad have made this year's event impossible to execute.

While the challenges of this moment are obviously being felt in every corner of the world, it's clear the travel community is being especially hard-hit. It is deeply unfortunate that this year's IPW will not provide us the opportunity to gather and forge a path forward together.

Next week, we will update you on the process for credits and refunds in relation to the investment many of you have made for this year's IPW, as well as additional information on IPW 2021.

Until we are able to convene again face-to-face at IPW, we are exploring ways to keep our industry connected and engaged.

I invite you to visit ipw.com for further updates. And everyone please be safe.

Sincerely,




Malcolm Smith

General Manager, IPW

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

ATIC: Tourism industry baseline now set with latest international and domestic visitor data

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
Today’s release of important but backward facing visitor economy data around national and international visitor statistics for the December 2019 quarter provides context against what is today a very different scenario facing Australia’s $150 billion tourism and visitor economy.

The latest National Visitor Survey (NVS) and International Visitor Survey (IVS) highlighted that domestic overnight spend again rose by double digits (+12% to $80.7 billion) for the year to 31 December 2019 with overnight stays similarly up 12%. Record international spending rose 3% on an annualised basis to $45.3 billion supported by 275 million visitor nights to the end of 2019.

Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) Executive Director Simon Westaway said the quarterly industry snapshot for domestic and international tourism activity delivered by Tourism Research Australia remained critical analysis and sets a standard that few other countries replicate globally.

“Australian tourism enterprises, wider players in our industry and governments continue to rely and engage around this detailed quarterly research which tracks both domestic and international tourism within Australia. This data delivery sets continual benchmarks and now policy makers have the representative statistical baseline right before the dual impacts of bushfires and COVID-19 which transpired from the beginning of 2020 from which to help industry address future recovery,” Mr Westaway said.

“The reality is Australian tourism has rapidly moved into its lowest ebb with the wrecking balls of the major bushfire impacts and now COVID-19 which are not captured by this latest data release.

“ATIC continues its historic callout for a more strongly equipped and resourced TRA to be able to also procure and deliver additional real time data and insights that complement these quality quarterly releases and assist the tourism industry, our people and our investors to best face the uncertain future ahead.

“The how and when to eventually pivot out of the COVID-19 induced and necessary international and in-country travel restrictions will soon come into greater focus. Today’s data release alongside the final furlong of Tourism2020 strategy outcomes must now truly inform government on why ongoing, practical and targeted support for Australia’s tourism and visitor economy is in everyone’s mutual interest and can play its role in our eventual rebuild.”

ATIC represents thousands of local tourism enterprises, where a feature of our industry is over 90% of 300,000 still registered tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises and sole traders that collectively employ 1 million people.

ATIC’s 2021 Federal Pre-Budget submission has an outline for a new direction for Tourism Research Australia amongst a short list of common sense and practical reform insights.

“For our industry to again prosper to its only recent lofty heights we need to get on top of COVID- 19. But we also need a tourism industry still with oxygen in its veins to effectively pivot and seize the genuine future opportunity the visitor economy presents for our nation. Tourism is an economic pillar of a future Australia and industry will need to rally over coming months to ensure we are not seen more as a pariah despite our undisputed social and economic value,” Mr Westaway said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Message to clients from Travel Associates

Danielle Galloway
General Manager, Travel Associates
I wanted to write today with an update on the Travel Associates business in the current environment as I believe it's incredibly important to keep our valued clients up to date on both our company and our industry in these difficult times.

Your support and your loyalty are so important to our team and we are very appreciative of the trust you place in our business. It's for this reason that I'd like to share some important information on what we are doing to manage the impact of the Government restrictions placed on our country as a result of the Coronavirus, and how this is affecting our company, our clients and our team.

Yesterday, our parent company, Flight Centre Travel Group, made a significant announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange. The announcement shares a number of the initiatives that our Group has put in place, including taking very tangible steps to improve our liquidity and our ability to weather a prolonged downturn in demand. Our goal is to emerge from this situation with our brand, our culture and most importantly, our customer service values intact so that we are able to resume the work we do in assisting our clients to realise their extraordinary travel dreams.

I hope that this announcement will give you a sense of confidence and peace of mind for the future of our business. To walk you through these initiatives, Flight Centre Travel Group’s Managing Director, Graham “Skroo” Turner has provided an update that you can read here.

For 22 years, the Travel Associates brand has worked to develop the very best connections with valued suppliers and we have also built an amazing team of experienced advisers with travel knowledge that is second-to-none. Some of the recent decisions we have made, as a direct result of the impact of Coronavirus on our industry, have been painful and difficult for all including the need to stand down many of our extraordinary advisers. We genuinely look forward to bringing back as many of these amazing people as soon as business returns to near-normal levels.

It's our goal to return to strength with a brand and team that once again exceeds your expectations, keeping you and your family safe, happy and healthy with any travel plans when you are ready to travel again.

As always, if we can do anything to help you, or if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to myself or your trusted Travel Associates adviser.

Yours sincerely
Danielle Galloway
General Manager, Travel Associates

Monday, April 6, 2020

Travel industry mourns passing of celebrity hotelier, Michael Hall

Hotelier to the Stars Passes

by Richard Rosebery

It is with sorrow that I announce the passing of my long-time friend, compatriot and mentor – Michael J Hall. Michael died from a heart condition on Wednesday 1 April 2020.

Michael Hall (1939-2020)
Hotelier Extraordinaire, Mentor & Friend Passes
At the tender age of 17, Michael sailed alone from the UK to New Zealand, and at 19 he ventured across the Tasman to Australia where he first worked for Mary Kathleen mining in outback Queensland before he landed the job of Food & Beverage Manager at the massive Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme. Finding hospitality in his blood Michael travelled to Canada to train at the Chateau Lake Louise in Banff. Returning to Australia in 1965 he started at the Sebel Town House as a storeman, in purchasing and then front office, however, he is especially well remembered as the long-time General Manager of this then famous Sebel Town House.

With a likeable personality, a great knowledge of catering, a natural appreciation of the needs of guests, plus an extremely street-savvy attitude, Michael was the consummate ‘mein host’. Along with his former GM Henry Rose, Michael helped to create an icon for the Australian hospitality industry - a home away from home for celebrities and the rich and famous alike. In truth the Sebel Town House facilities were not much more than a three-star property but the service, attention to detail and utmost care extended to guests by Michael and his staff elevated the Sebel well above its station! Even when new and more luxurious hotels opened their doors in competition to the Sebel, they were unable to knock it off its perch. The Sebel was the first and for a long time the only member of Leading Hotels of the World within this region during most of the hotel’s operating life. Michael held the Sebel’s reins tightly and ensured that every guest was recognised and warmly looked after – a winning formula that has not been emulated in Sydney since.

"With a likeable personality, a great knowledge of catering,
a natural appreciation of the needs of guests, plus an uncanny street-savvy attitude,
Michael was the consummate ‘mein host’."
- Richard Rosebery

When Mirvac bought the Sebel Town House in the late 1980’s Michael also became the Managing Director of Mirvac Hotels, a brand that would grow immensely in the years to come. Michael was instrumental in helping me found Select Hotels & Resorts International in the mid-1980s. Select was a hotel consortia and marketing network – the first of its type for the Asia Pacific region which gave independent hotels a platform to compete with the large hotel chains when the Internet didn’t exist!

Through his strong presence and congenial personality, he was an ideal first Chairman for the group, which grew from 10 to 75 hotels before we merged with Small Luxury Hotels of the World in 1997 to create a global network. In 2003 we resurrected the Select brand again, and again Michael took the reins as my chairman, with me as Managing Director.

Michael Hall was also a savvy investor and worked on several international and domestic hospitality projects after he left the Sebel in the early ‘90s. Unlike so many other General Managers his years as a five-star hotelier did not define the rest of his working life – he started the first ‘five star’ Original Backpackers in Kings Cross, selling it for a tidy profit, which he in turn invested in the Manor House in Surrey Hills, again a profitable adventure into boutique hospitality. I was involved with Michael in marketing both these projects.

Over the year’s Michael was a mentor to many of Australia’s top hoteliers – names such as Andrew Broad, George Bedwani, Graham Goldberg and Raj Mennon to name a few. As such Michael became the first Chairman of the now famous and successful Blue Mountains Hotel School. In 1990 Michael recognised the passion, commitment and expertise of Swiss hotelier Fritz Gubler and his building partner Max Player, and he was keen to see the highly successful Swiss hotel education model adopted into Australia. He supported them in the creation of Australia’s first dedicated hotel school. The school quickly became the Asia Pacific’s most respected and successful hospitality training facility - a school that still thrives today.

Michael was honourable and a real gentleman. He was highly respected by anyone who had the fortune to come in contact with him. He did not suffer fools easily but appreciated the best in people. He was always a shrewd businessperson.

Michael Hall adored his loving wife Patrea Hall and was a devoted family man, taking the role of patriarch for the entire Hall clan. Our hearts go out to Michael’s family – to Patrea, his daughter Leonie and son-in-law Matt Tindale, his son Adam, and grandchildren Charlie, Amy, Riley, Millie and Archie – in this saddest of times.

A small family-only funeral will be held on Wednesday 8 April 2020. When the times permit a full memorial for Michael will be organised by his many friends and held in Sydney.

Rest in Peace Michael

Signature Media Acquires Vacations & Travel Magazine



In big news for the Australian travel media industry, Signature Media has finalised the purchase of Vacations & Travel magazine, cementing the positioning of the media powerhouse as the largest independent travel publisher in the APAC region.

Established in 1983 and previously owned by US-based Morris Media Network, Vacations & Travel is the longest-running travel magazine in Australia, and has a strong digital presence through its website and social media platforms.

Until now Signature Media has focused on family and high-end travel markets. However, with the acquisition of Vacations & Travel, it will now cater to everyone.

Cathy Wagstaff, CEO & Group Editor, said: “The acquisition of Vacations & Travel magazine gives advertisers the opportunity to reach a much larger market, targeting different age groups and travel types, from cost-conscious travellers up to the discerning high-end luxe connoisseur and everyone in between.

“Vacations & Travel will fit very neatly into the Signature family, as will the existing editorial team headed by Jac Taylor and the digital team consisting of Anya Vokhmyakova and Eliza Valk. Helen Hayes, who has 14 years of history in various editorial roles with Vacations magazine, will return to the team as Editor-at-Large. We look forward to working together on this highly regarded travel title that has been on the shelves of newsagents and delivered to loyal subscribers for 37 years.”

Jac Taylor, the Editor of Vacations, adds: “I have to admit, I was ecstatic to hear that it might be Signature Media acquiring Vacations & Travel, and I'm beyond happy that they've chosen to retain not just me, but Anya and Eliza – both such great core team members! I give my heartfelt thanks (to Cathy) for believing in us and in what we know is a quality and much-loved magazine.”

“Signature Media plans to return Vacations & Travel to its former glory as a leading travel title in this market. We will take it back to its roots, catering to a broad market sector – it will be the magazine for everyone, with inspirational content covering the whole spectrum of three- to five-star experiences around the globe,” Wagstaff concluded.

Given the current coronavirus crisis, Signature Media will rest the print title for two issues, publishing the first issue in summer this year. In the interim, we will continue to publish digital content, focus on strengthening digital channels and will use the downtime to refocus the magazine as well as further fine-tuning its advertising and marketing strategies.


Traveloscopy | 

Sunday, April 5, 2020

How to Keep Your Product Top of Mind During Coronavirus



As with many organisations, the coronavirus crisis has forced Tourism Australia to review and re-evaluate all aspects of our business. Whilst much of our marketing activity is currently on pause, we are still continuing with a lot of work behind the scenes. This includes continuing to train Aussie Specialist Agents in our key markets, creating new content for our online platforms, working with journalists on a whole range of media stories and continuing with appropriate social media activity. We need to be ready to go back and go back at scale when the time is right. We are already working on this recovery strategy, including how we reactivate aviation capacity, how we get the global distribution system firing again and the most appropriate type of campaign activity in a post-coronavirus world.

We are also continuing with our weekly webinar series. Last week we were joined by almost 2,000 people for our first webinar with Australia's Tourism Minister, Simon Birmingham, and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Nick Coatsworth. Our second webinar will be held this Friday 3 April, from 2 pm to 3:30 pm. I will be joined by Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, who will give an update on Australia's response to the coronavirus. We will also have representatives from the Treasury, Services Australia and the Australian Taxation Office answering questions on the different forms of government support available for individuals and businesses. Register for the webinar here.


KEEPING YOUR PRODUCT OR BUSINESS TOP OF MIND DURING CORONAVIRUS

With most of the world now in lockdown or self-isolation, there are still opportunities to share content that feeds people's escapism and use this time to inspire them to visit Australia once this crisis passes. People's appetite for travel hasn't disappeared. During this period, we want to keep Australia top of mind, so that when the travel bans lift and confidence returns, Australia gets its fair share of pent up travel demand. See below some tips for how to keep your product or business top of mind:

Get online: Consumers have more time than ever to dream and plan their next holiday. If you are able to showcase your product online through social media or your website, take this opportunity to offer future guests a virtual experience and keep your product top of mind.

Embrace all things Australian: While consumers can't travel at the moment, it doesn't mean we can't share all the things we love about Australia with the world. Movies, books, songs, cooking classes or storytelling – all this content can be shared online and allows you to keep consumers engaged with your product until it is safe to travel again.

Share your news: Tourism Australia still wants to hear from you. If you have any news about initiatives you are running to keep your audience engaged, please email them to internationalmedia@tourism.australia.com. Tourism Australia has also updated its Media Kit for 2020. It is available for download.

Source: Tourism Australia


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Update from IPW 2020





Dear IPW Delegate,

We recognize that you are closely following developments for our IPW 2020 event in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Likewise, we committed to share an update today, April 3, regarding its current status.

While IPW is scheduled to open in eight weeks, U.S. Travel advises against delegates taking further steps associated with participation as planned, such as preparing for booth construction and arranging for travel. We are hopeful to be able to share a firm decision and additional information in the days ahead, as we continue to address a variety of complex concerns and quickly changing circumstances.

Until then, please know that U.S. Travel is taking every step possible to inform you during this most challenging time.

I invite you to visit ipw.com, where we will maintain current messaging to delegates. And everyone please be safe.

Respectfully yours,



Malcolm Smith

General Manager, IPW

Friday, April 3, 2020

Accor COVID-19 Update


Over the past three weeks, the crisis has severely deepened with over half the worldwide population either confined and/or under lock-down. This has resulted in a virtual standstill of travel, dining and entertainment, which is vastly affecting our industry. Today more than half Accor branded hotels worldwide are closed, likely over two thirds in the coming weeks. One piece of good news is the confirmation of initial recovery of the Chinese hotel market, with mild improvements in occupancy and F&B activity.

The abrupt deterioration in the situation has prompted the Group to take drastic actions across its global operations. These actions are indispensable to limit the impact on earnings and cash, and necessary to prepare for the post-crisis recovery. In these unprecedented times, the Group stands more than ever by its employees, partners and communities, providing time, resources and access to its local and global network.

Mitigation measures

Measures were implemented as early as February. Given the situation, the Group has decided to take aggressive, incremental actions. Collectively, these include:

-      Travel ban, hiring freeze, reduced schedules and /or furloughing for 75% of global head office teams for Q2, resulting in a minimum €60m reduction in G&A for 2020,

-      Reviewed recurring investment plan for 2020 resulting in a €60m reduction in capital expenditures.

The Group is further streamlining all other costs (e.g. sales, marketing, IT), in line with lower system wide revenues.

Balance sheet

Thanks to its recent asset-light transformation and cash preservation strategy, Accor can today rely on a strong balance sheet, with more than €2.5bn in cash on hand and an undrawn revolving credit facility of €1.2bn. While much uncertainty remains on the duration of this crisis, the Group expects a severe impact on its 2020 performance but remains bullish on the long-term perspective of the hospitality industry, for Accor, its employees, its owners and shareholders.

Dividend and solidarity measures

In these unchartered territories, Accor’s Board of Directors has decided today to complement management actions outlined above, by withdrawing its proposal for a 2019 dividend payment of c. €280m.

After consulting with the Group’s main shareholders, JinJiang International, Qatar Investment Authority, Kingdom Holding Company and Harris Associates, Accor has decided to allocate 25% of the planned dividend (€70m) to the launch of the “ ALL Heartist Fund”, a Covid-19 special purpose vehicle. This fund will typically assist:

-      the Group’s 300,000 employees, pledging to pay for their COVID-19-related hospital expenses, for those who do not have social security or medical insurance,

-      on a case by case basis, furloughed employees suffering great financial distress,

-      on a case by case basis, individual partners facing financial difficulty,

-      in addition, the Group will further deploy its solidarity initiatives to support front-line healthcare professionals and non-profit organizations.

This initiative reflects the ambition of the Group and its shareholders to provide a meaningful and significant contribution to global solidarity initiatives to address the current health crisis while planning for future needs. This decision has received unanimous support from the Board members, who collectively decided to reduce their attendance fees by 20% to the benefit of the “ALL Heartist Fund”. Additionally, Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, will forego 25% of its compensation during the crisis. The cash equivalent will also be contributed to the Fund.

S├ębastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, commented: “Welcoming, protecting and taking care of others is at the very heart of what we do. In light of the urgency and the scale of the situation, we have decided to act in an immediate and meaningful way, in the spirit of our values and commitments. Through this impactful gesture, we wish to express our solidarity and gratitude to all those demonstrating courage and selflessness during this crisis. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank the Group’s main shareholders. Without them, the “ALL Heartist Fund” would not have been possible. I also want to pay a special tribute to the Accor teams around the world. They are facing the current crisis with admirable courage, dedication and professionalism. As our industry is going through tough times, we have to make tough decisions, but Accor has a strong balance sheet which will enable it to withstand this crisis and emerge with strength during the recovery period. I am confident that Accor will soon rediscover the road to growth.”



Monday, March 30, 2020

ATIC strongly backs $130 billion JobKeeper package




The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) has strongly backed the Morrison Government’s eye-watering $130 billion JobKeeper package.

ATIC represents thousands of local tourism enterprises, where a feature of our industry is over 90% of 300,000 still registered tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises and sole traders that collectively employ 1 million people.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said today’s package, once passed by Federal Parliament, represented a genuine lifeline and offer of hope to Australian tourism enterprises, most already facing their darkest hour.

Mr Westaway said for tourism firms, from sole traders to small or larger enterprises, to be directly incentivised to retain valued personnel as our industry faces its greatest ever challenge, is strongly welcomed.

“We naturally urge for the return of Federal Parliament and address this package of major significance swiftly and with appropriate scrutiny but bipartisan backing,” Mr Westaway said.

“Nobody is kidding themselves. The road back for many Australian tourism businesses is going to be incredibly tough. Our international border still remains closed and a number of States and Territories have shut themselves off to interstate visitors.

“The solution is simple. For our industry to again prosper to its once lofty heights we need to get on top of COVID-19. But we also need a tourism industry still with oxygen in its veins to effectively pivot and seize the genuine future opportunity the visitor economy is for our nation and the 1 million people we employ.

“The public health, safety and well-being of our fellow Australians must always remain our number one national priority and none more so than at this time. Our industry has stood solidly as one behind the all-of-government decisions that are designed to ensure this remains the case in facing the headwinds of COVID-19.”


Shinju Matsuri’s 50th Anniversary event postponed to May 2021




In response to the COVID- 19 crisis we have made the decision to postpone the 50th Anniversary of Shinju Matsuri to May 2021.

The 50th Anniversary event next May It will still feature signature elements of the usual Shinju Matsuri Festival including the Sunset Long Table Dinner, Floating Lantern Matsuri, taste journey Makan Dulu and celebratory art installation.

To celebrate Shinju Matsuri’s 50th Anniversary event, local artists Jacky Cheng, Jody Loaring, Michael Torres and Tomoko Yamada will join forces with international artist, Lisa Foo, to create a largescale installation at Town Beach that explores the theme of ‘Home’.

“We are all really looking forward to the 50th Anniversary Celebrations. The artist group will keep collaborating and creating to ensure the work truly captures the spirit of our wonderful community and unites everyone after this very challenging time.” Jacky Cheng – Broome Artist

Shinju Matsuri President Chris Maher said, “Despite the postponement, we are still working hard to plan a fantastic 50th Anniversary celebration event for both visitors and the Broome community. Holding Shinju Matsuri in May will allow us to kick start our tourism season and showcase our beautiful town to holidaymakers once more.”






Sunday, March 22, 2020

ATIC: Where to for Australian #tourism to stay in the game during #COVID19



The Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC) said the economic and social calamity bearing down on the Australian tourism industry and its predominant small to medium business structure, has been thrown financial ‘life support’ by the Morrison Government’ trying to counter COVID-19 impacts.

ATIC represents thousands of local tourism enterprises, where a feature of our industry is over 90% of 300,000 registered tourism businesses are small to medium enterprises and sole traders that collectively employ 1 million people.

ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway
ATIC Executive Director Simon Westaway said the fresh series of Commonwealth subsidised measures for small business enterprise under the Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme is undeniably a package of major significance at a critical time that can practically support many tourism businesses and try to hold onto jobs.

Mr Westaway said industry will also need to rapidly absorb today’s Commonwealth declaration that all non-essential travel within Australia should be cancelled at this time. This is alongside the mass new series of financial and regulatory measures now on the table to help support our country, our people and seek to retain jobs and keep business doors open against this backdrop.

“The Australian tourism industry has and must walk in lock step with authorities as our nation best tackles the public health response and get on top of the spread of COVID-19,” Mr Westaway said.

“As individuals as much as single businesses and as a community we all now have our role to play. Without getting on top of COVID-19 future sustained confidence in travel will not fully return. These are the toughest of times and resilience alongside keeping doors open and our people in roles are our major priorities.

“The rapid and dramatic changes in travel advisories, to the recent closure of some state and territory borders would of course be seen as unfathomable just months ago. But in these times our industry, a genuine economic and social pillar in Australia, must take the appropriate resilience measures in order to push through to the other side.

“ATIC urges industry to absorb what is now before it, a myriad of information and hone in on elements of current financial and economic packages that can help keep individual businesses resiliently stay in business, keep their people and be positioned to provide a future quality tourism proposition.”

Mr Westaway said Australian tourism enterprises and participants of the visitor economy are amongst those most exposed to the public health led response to COVID-19 with free-falling domestic and international visitor numbers, a halt in spending and future bookings and collective travel bans and restrictions.

“This is well targeted government support that can directly appeal and benefit many Australian tourism SMEs at no more critical time and will provide a new buffer against the calamitous state our great industry and now much of our economy finds itself”, Mr Westaway said.

The COVID-19 SME Guarantee Scheme’s core elements included offering wage subsidies and the vital provision of underwriting of SME loans to a 50% level as a government guarantee with annual turnovers of up to $50 million and an upfront 6-months freeze on repayments. He said the measures would be embraced by industry.

It follows on the heels of Commonwealth and major banks and lenders implementing measures to back eligible SME including a 6-month deferral of loan repayments.

“We welcome and encourage the federal bureaucracy to urge along the rapid flow of this new direct tourism SME support to as many as businesses as possible from the Scheme’s full commencement,” Mr Westaway said.

He said the vast majority of Australian tourism enterprises can capture the wage-subsidy addressing SMEs in one of two welcome ways on initial reading. Firstly, those with annual turnovers up to $50 million, will be paid as a cash payment equivalent to 100 per cent of the withholding tax reported over 2 financial quarters and could now reach a maximum cash boost of $100000, a major step-up from the previous $25,000 ceiling.

“The predominance of tourism businesses are micro sized (5 employees or under) and have no withholding tax obligations. ATIC understands now a minimum payment of $20,000 provides the sought-after cash injection that thousands of tourism providers can chase,” Mr Westaway said,

“The public health, safety and well-being of our fellow Australians must always remain our number one national priority and none more so than at this time. Our industry has stood solidly as one behind the all-of-government decisions that are designed to ensure this remains the case in facing the headwinds of COVID-19.”

The Expeditionist

The Expeditionist
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